John Leland, a Baptist preacher, “emerged a leader among the Commonwealth’s Baptists. He was instrumental in allying the Baptists with Jefferson and Madison in the bitter Virginia struggle to disestablish the Anglican Church and to secure freedom for religious dissenters.” (italics added) According to L.H. Butterfield, Leland “was as courageous and resourceful a champion of the rights of conscience as America has produced.” (italics added) Leland, who allied with the Baptists, supported Jefferson because of his commitment to “the rights of conscience.” (italics added) This did not refer to separating religious beliefs from politics, but rather allowed one to believe according to his own conscience without government interference. For example, Leland celebrated Jefferson’s election from his pulpit. By conscience, they referred to the first table of the Ten Commandments as Roger Williams did. Conscience refers to ‘opinions’ so referred to by both Jefferson and the Danbury Baptists in their correspondence. Continue reading →
Thank you for your willing and unselfish sacrifice for my undeserved freedom of religion in America!
It seems to me that most Americans, including many Baptists, are either unaware or have forgotten the extraordinary role that Baptists played in securing religious liberty in America. Many Americans who are aware seek to minimize Christianity’s role in general and Baptist’s role in particular. Then there are those whose lack of acknowledgement and appreciation sometimes manifests itself in admonishments to pastors, particularly Baptist pastors, against speaking out or being involved in politics. Some of these chastisements come from Baptist pews and pulpits. Let me mention one historical example of Baptist influence. Continue reading →
The loss of spiritual freedom for supposed physical freedom is reason enough to become informed, and to work and pray for the collapse of ObamaCare. Following are some of the ways that ObamaCare will further erode religious freedom in the U.S. Additionally, check out the “ObamaCare and its Mandates Fact sheet” at Alliance Defending Freedom. This four page fact sheet summarizes the destructive impact of ObamaCare upon religious faith. An excellent resource.
- The abortion mandate limits business owner’s First Amendment rights by requiring them to directly fund the death of innocent lives created in the image of God (Gen 9:6).
- It advances the notion of only protecting religious freedom when all participants are adherents to the faith, thereby limiting the ministry of religious groups to the public (Matt 5:13ff).
- Government control of healthcare requires working people to pay for those who could work, but choose not to, thereby encouraging laziness (2 Thess 3:10).
- Government control of health care further erodes the need for personal responsibility and decision-making. This undermines the understood need for repentance and accepting the gospel, since both require a clear sense of personal responsibility (Rom 3:23, 10: 9-10).
- It furthers the redefining of religious freedom under the First Amendment to merely meaning freedom of worship.
- It expands the cost of running the spendthrift federal government, thereby reducing the amount of discretionary income for Christians to give to spiritual causes, to utilize private schools, or to live on one income.
- It continues the transference of benevolence from the private sector to the federal government, thereby limiting the benevolent role and significance of religious groups (Matt 5:13ff).
Michael Tinney, a member of the 2013/2014 Roundtable in Ethics, explains the answer to the following question. Is the overthrow of an existing king, ruler, or government, if war or violence is necessary, ever biblically justifiable? Continue reading →
“Wall of separation” is the exact phrase used by Thomas Jefferson in his letter to the Danbury Baptists, whereas “separation church and state” is the popular phraseology. My use of these phrases in this article should not be construed in any way as an endorsement of either agreeing with them or using them. I actually argue for Christians to disabuse ourselves from using them as a gloss of the First Amendment. For when it is so used, it is at best a tawdry and misleading replacement of the amendment’s beautiful words, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” I use it only because the article necessitates that I do.
In the 1947 Everson v. Board of Education case (1947 – 330 U.S.1), the Supreme Court applied the establishment clause to the states. It also imbued this guarantee with a firm Separationist reading. Justice Hugo Black’s words for the Everson majority proved a prophetic distillation of the establishment cases for the next four decades: “The ‘establishment of religion’ clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another….In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect “a wall of separation between church and state.” (italics added) Continue reading →
If someone rejects the normalcy of homosexuality, he is summarily labeled as a homophobe. If a crime is committed against a homosexual, it is quickly attributed to homophobia. Continue reading →
Recently, Chris Haynes presented a very helpful paper in the Round Table in Ethics that dealt with infanticide and euthanasia. A clear understanding of the sanctity of life is something every Christian needs to know in order to strengthen his own faith and be equipped to help others see God in the world and society. Chris’s paper is a great resource to that end.
The mantra of our day is equal rights and free speech unless of course one is expressing biblical morality. Equal rights really are more equal for some than for others.
“[I]n 2002, police were called to a disturbance in Brighton, England, in which an elderly man had been assaulted, knocked to the ground, and pelted with soil and water. The police arrested the man, and he was eventually convicted of harassment. His crime? Displaying a placard that read, “Stop Immorality, Stop Homosexuality, Stop Lesbianism.” No action was taken against his assailants. His right to protection from physical assault was regarded by the authorities as less important than the right of homosexuals to protection from criticism.”
 Simon DeBruxelles, “Preacher Fined for Anti-Gay Sermon,” The Times, April 25, 2002, http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-278222,00.html. Accessed at http://www.kairosjournal.org/document.aspx?DocumentID=6145&QuadrantID=4&CategoryID=6&TopicID=43&L=1 9-24-13
Homosexuals never tire of comparing themselves to blacks and the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Is it analogous? Well no, but it is effective. If successful in convincing the public that the plight of blacks is now the plight of the homosexual, they gain all of the rhetorical power of the Civil Rights Movement.
It is absolutely disanalogous because: being black is not a behavior or choice, nor is it changeable, whereas homosexuality is both a behavior and changeable. Further, while it is not merely a choice, it does involve a choice. It should cause anger in blacks to see their struggle degraded by the homosexual community.
Additionally, the Bible never speaks negatively of being black and actually speaks as positively about being black as any other color, whereas the Bible is, without exception, from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21, unambiguously condemnatory of homosexuality.
26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural,
27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.
Thomas Jefferson was generally supported by Baptists and anti-federalists, but disfavored by Congregationalists, federalists, and others who believed in a stronger relationship between church and state. Jefferson and the Baptists worked closely in Virginia to disestablish the Anglican church and establish religious freedom for dissenters. Baptists supported Jefferson’s bid for president because of his commitment to “the rights of conscience.” (italics added) Just for the record, I do not believe Jefferson evidences true Christianity, but of course Baptists did not see that as essential for public office. Continue reading →